Palestinian American Poet, Fady Joudeh #Poetry

Photo by Cybele Knowles

To follow up from last week’s post about poet Mahmoud Darwish ( read Post ) This post is about the poet, who translated Darwish’s Poetry. Fady Joudeh, a Palestinian American poet and Physician, has translated several of Darwish’s Poems.

Joudeh lives with his family in Houston, Texas where he practices Internal Medicine.

“Joudah translated several collections of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish’s work in The Butterfly’s Burden (2006), which won the Banipal prize from the UK and was a finalist for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation; and in If I Were Another, which won a PEN USA award in 2010. His translation of Ghassan Zaqtan‘s Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me (2012) won the Griffin International Poetry Prize in 2013. His other translations include Amjad Nasser‘s Petra: The Concealed Rose and A Map of Signs and Scents.PoetryFoundation.org

The Tea and Sage Poem

BY FADY JOUDAH

At a desk made of glass,
In a glass walled-room
With red airport carpet,

An officer asked
My father for fingerprints,
And my father refused,

So another offered him tea
And he sipped it. The teacup
Template for fingerprints.

My father says, it was just
Hot water with a bag.
My father says, in his country,

Because the earth knows
The scent of history,
It gave the people sage.

I like my tea with sage
From my mother’s garden,
Next to the snapdragons

She calls fishmouths
Coming out for air. A remedy
For stomach pains she keeps

In the kitchen where
She always sings.
First, she is Hagar

Boiling water
Where tea is loosened.
Then she drops

In it a pinch of sage
And lets it sit a while.
She tells a story:

The groom arrives late
To his wedding
Wearing only one shoe.

The bride asks him
About the shoe. He tells her
He lost it while jumping

Over a house-wall.
Breaking away from soldiers.
She asks:

Tea with sage
Or tea with mint?

With sage, he says,
Sweet scent, bitter tongue.
She makes it, he drinks.

Fady Joudah, “The Tea and Sage Poem” from The Earth in the Attic. Copyright © 2008 by Fady Joudah. Reprinted by permission of Yale University Press.Source: The Earth in the Attic (Yale University Press, 2008)









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